Residents protest salvage yard proposal
Minden Hills councillors were met with a throng of protesters as they entered the township building for their Nov. 26 meeting
Hunter Creek Estates residents are unhappy about an application for a salvage yard south of Minden, on a property that abuts the housing development.
Zoned part rural and part extractive industrial, the property, a former quarry, requires a site-specific zoning amendment for the operation of a salvage yard.
A number of concerns, many environmental, were voiced at a Nov. 12 public meeting on the application and were reiterated by Don Drouillard of the Gull Lake Cottagers Association at last week’s meeting.
“Water quality is the main concern of all the people on the lake,” Drouillard told councillors. “I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the applicant at all and I wish him luck in another location. A lot of mistakes have been made in the past. Mistakes have been made with septic tanks. Mistakes have been made with salvage yards. Why would you want to take a chance of poisoning the well? We think this is too big of a risk to even entertain the thought. Please look for a better location.”
Applicants Steve and Michelle Beaver also made a presentation to council last Thursday.
“We attended the public meeting on Nov. 12 and listened to the concerns expressed at that meeting,” Michelle told councillors.
She explained the business would operate from 7 a.m until 5 p.m. and that an excavator and loader would be used.
She pointed out this machinery is quieter than a crusher and other equipment that is permitted use under the property’s current zoning.
A number of properties in the area are zoned for industrial use.
“Everything else is zoned industrial,” Michelle said, pointing to a fuel company, woodworking business and MTO and Minden Hills work yards located along Highway 35.
“Highway access is gated, fenced and well-treed.”
“Based on a site visit conducted Nov.13 the site appears to be well vegetated with mature trees around the perimeter of the site, with younger trees throughout the cleared area of the property where the extractive operation had previously taken place,” Minden Hills planner Ian Clendening wrote in a report.
The draft bylaw includes a 100-metre vegetative buffer from wetlands on the property.
In a report earlier this month, Clendening had recommended approval of the application, rezoning the rural portion of the property as hazard land and the extractive industrial portion as extractive industrial exception.
Following the environmental concerns raised at the public meeting, it was Clendening’s recommendation last week that council defer a decision on the matter until the applicants have an environmental impact assessment and noise study prepared.
Council supported that recommendation, although Councillor Pam Sayne was skeptical.
“My biggest concern is what is outside of an environmental assessment,” Sayne said, referring to longterm impacts that may be too subtle for detection. “Some of the questions are really beyond the scope of an environmental study.”
Councillor Ron Nesbitt wondered how a salvage yard in the area might impact property values.
Clendening said if the visual impact and noise issues were addressed, there’d be no reason for depreciation.